It’s not that I have particularly bad hair. I wouldn’t say it’s awesome. Prone to lack of volume and mild frizz, I’ve tried my fair share of shampoos and conditioners that promise to thicken, nourish, add shine, or even promote growth. Some gave better results than others, but none completely satisfied. And lately, just before my 30th birthday, I started noticing more hair loss than expected. I told a few friends about it and realized I wasn’t the only one suffering.
Prolonged exposure to the sun, excessively dry air, stress and anxiety, illness, hormones and age can all impact the condition of our scalp and the health of our hair. Temporary hair loss (telogen effluvium) has also been recognized as a common side effect of long Covid. It usually occurs several weeks after stressful experiences, including episodes of serious illness, and lasts up to six months. But the course can be corrected.
The scalp is our hair’s support system, according to Anabel Kingsley, consultant trichologist at haircare brand Philip Kingsley.
“A clean, balanced and healthy scalp is best able to promote healthy hair growth and produce strong, good quality hair,” she says. “Your scalp is skin and it benefits from similar care to the skin on your face. When shampooing, your primary focus should be your scalp, not your hair. Although some conditions, such as psoriasis and dandruff, may require medication (seek advice from a medical professional if you are unsure of the cause of your scalp problems), the general approach to scalp care should fit your routine This means cleansing, exfoliating, toning, hydrating and treating.
Kingsley recommends a weekly pre-shampoo with a deep conditioning mask, like the brand’s popular Elasticzer. “It will help strengthen the strands while targeting different causes of breakage. Healthy hair will stretch a third of its length before breaking, while dry, damaged hair becomes brittle and breaks easily,” she says.
Although your hair type, length, color and your grooming preferences (air drying or hot tools) dictate the exact products your hair and scalp need most, creating a solid routine is the first step to better hair.
It’s important to remove any buildup of oils or products, such as dry shampoo or texturizing spray. Include a detox shampoo in your routine once or twice a week as part of a “double cleansing” ritual. Try O&M Original Detox Shampoo, The Ouai’s Detox Shampoo or Hair Rituel by Sisley Gentle Purifying Shampoo. Some products are gentle enough for daily or more regular use, such as Sophic’s Daily Cleanser. Be sure to focus on your scalp and roots, massaging the product into a lather for two to three minutes before rinsing, and even incorporating a stimulating brush into your cleanse. Follow with a nourishing shampoo, like O&M Hydrate & Conquer, for the second stage of your cleanse.
Just like skincare, there are physical and chemical options for exfoliating your scalp. These help control sebum production, which can cause an oily scalp and hairline, and ultimately reduce the amount you need to wash your hair. Try Christophe Robin’s Purifying Cleansing Sea Salt Scrub, this one from Sachajuan or The Inkey List’s Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Scrub as a pre-shampoo treatment once a week.
Tone or Serum
If you suffer from dandruff or an itchy scalp, a post-shower toner can help soothe the discomfort and address the cause of the problem. Philip Kingsley’s Flaky & Itchy Scalp Toner offers instant relief for many people, thanks in part to hyaluronic acid – something we know dry or dehydrated skin types love. Straand’s Crown Fix Scalp Serum and The Ouai Scalp Serum have similar calming properties.
Conditioners, serums and oils are the best way to add moisture. Your hair type will dictate which moisturizer to use, similar to how people with sensitive, normal, and oily skin use different products on their face. Try O&M Know Knott Leave-In Conditioner, Christophe Robin Leave-In Moisturizing Mist or Bondi Boost Heavenly Hydration Hair Oil to lock in shine and shine.
Masks and treatments can offer a more intensive approach to hydrating and repairing the scalp. Coco & Eve’s K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Mask and Bond Building Pre-Shampoo Treatment both promise to help repair and break bonds, which is essential for promoting regrowth after hair loss.
We hope you like the products we recommend on Large format sheet. Our editors select each independently. Large format may receive an affiliate commission when you follow certain links.